History and Remembrance

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“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” – George Santayana

As the celebration of America’s Independence rolls around this weekend and Redmond’s 75th Derby Days Parade will be commemorated next weekend, let’s take a moment to remember the history of the city of Redmond.  What started out as a small farming and logging community has grown to a city of over 50,000 people with businesses, schools, churches and a diverse ethnic population.

“Redmond was founded by true pioneers, men and women who came up the Sammamish River to a beautiful, yet untamed wilderness. We have been pioneering ever since – first logging and farming, now microchips and bio-engineering, while in the future we look towards a diverse economy with businesses thriving in both the downtown and Overlake.”

Redmond Mayor John Marchione (from the Redmond Historical Society website)

The Nokomis Club of Redmond was formed in 1909 by six women; by 1927 had opened the first library in Redmond.  The building was housed in what is now the Half Price Books building.  By 1933 the Nokomis Club had raised enough money through bake sales and serving lunches to civic groups in the area to fund construction of a new library building, located at 16210 N.E. 80th St.  The building continued to be the clubhouse for the organization as well as a meeting place for other civic organizations until 1972 when the building was purchased by the Chamber of Commerce.  The Chamber folded and the building became the property of OneRedmond.

The building itself has not been classified as a landmark as the owner (NBE) would need to nominate the site for consideration.  King County recommended the site in both 1998 and 2005 as suitable as an historic property and building.

“The building was inventoried in historic surveys conducted in 1998 and 2005, and both surveys recommend listing it in the Local and National Register of Historic Places.  “In view of this recommendation, the association of the building with Redmond, early to mid-20th century history, and the association of the Nokomis Club with women’s history, this proposal [5-story building] would appear to have a negative impact on this historic property,” writes Gregory Griffith, Deputy State [Washington] Historic Preservation Officer, Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, in a letter dated February 26, 2015.  Griffith concludes, “As a result, we recommend that alternative designs/site planning be explored that result in the building’s preservation/re-use on site.”  (from the Case Statement on the Nokomis website)

As the Nokomis Club was established by women and the projects and benefits to our community were organized by these women, the historical significance of the building and the meaning to the City of Redmond are substantial.  The women of the Nokomis Club were instrumental in the lives of many of our local families and continue to be a reflection of our past and a window into our future.

On July 7th, Redmond City Council will be discussing possible relocation sites for the Nokomis Buildings, as suggested by the Redmond City Council (per City Council Meeting June 16, 2015; recording/video online near the end at 56:50 the Mayor discusses questions by the council about land for the Nokomis Building {to be moved to}).

I urge you to attend the Council meeting and voice your opinion about this part of Redmond’s history.  Once it is gone, it cannot be re-created.

Nokomis Club of Redmond needs to raise approximately $25-$50,000 in order to pay for legal fees and representation as they appeal the decision to deny the historic significance of the Nokomis building in Redmond.  The hearing appealing the City of Redmond’s “Decision of Non-Significance” is scheduled for July 9th and 10th.

A separate appeal has been filed regarding the EPA’s classification of the building.

If you are interested in helping with their fight, please consider donating funds via PayPal on the Nokomis Club website or through their Crowdrise site (both listed below).

Contact the Redmond Nokomis Club:

Nokomis Club of Redmond
P.O. Box 7012
Bellevue, WA  98008-1012

Website:  www.nokomisclub98052.com

Crowdrise site:  https://www.crowdrise.com/HistoricRedmondsFirstLibrary/fundraiser/kristenbryant

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